I get people asking me all the time about what it was like to lose a leg and try to cope with being an amputee. One of the things that they don’t tell you about this process is the fact that everyone will expect you to more or less be a spokesperson for your condition now. You are an amputee who is representing all other amputees, and you more or less get recruited into being an educator about disability in general whether you want to be one or not. One of the reasons why I started this blog in the first place was that I felt that I already had the training for educating people about this problem, even though I never voluntarily decided to get to this point in the first place.
I really don’t mind all of the questions and I know that people are trying to be nice and supportive. It does get old after a while though, especially when I just want to go out and have a coffee with someone without having to explain my life to them over and over again. All of the conversations blend together after a while, and it feels like a unique conversation with someone is instantly transformed into a generic one the moment that they start asking about my disability. Everyone always asks the same questions over and over again like they read them off a script. I wish I could find the script-writer – who clearly does not suffer from a disability himself or herself – and get him or her to vary it up a little.
You can ask people about their disabilities. However, you do need to remember that we have heard these questions all the time and we aren’t always up for educating you about what happened and how it makes us feel. These are our lives, and try not to turn our problems into an intellectual exercise or a debate.